Friday, September 7, 2018
Long Term Planning - They're More Like Guidelines
I approach Long Term Planning (tm) in the spirit of the Pirates of the Caribbean. You recall the scene. Elizabeth has been captured by the crew of the Black Pearl. She attempts to bargain with Barbossa, quoting the pirate code. It doesn't work out.
Long term planning is Elizabeth. I'm the undead pirate (some days deader than others.)
Yeah, yeah. I know. I handled data for a living. Damn it, Jim, I was a SQL DBA not a project manager! You might think I ought to give you screenshots of my exquisitely sorted (indexed, with prime and foreign keys!) data of my long term planning.
You'd be wrong. This is where I channel Barbossa and growl, "The code is more what you'd call guidelines than actual rules."
Long term planning spreadsheets, color-coded and cell-linked are enough like rules to make me want to gouge out my eyes with my pen. I am so glad several people posted shots of their planning spreadsheets for you, and I am honestly pleased those constructs work for them. For me, they're soul and creative impulse crushing. Don't know why. Don't much care why. I only care that they ARE. So I don't do 'em. Won't have 'em. I am apparently not wired to work in that fashion.
Instead, I stick to the guidelines. Of course, I still plan. I absolutely keep track of what I want and what I'm doing to move in that direction. Just - differently. Thus the really, really old school list you see above. Crappy photo on purpose. There are somethings that aren't yet ready for the light of day, even as half-baked ideas.
The handwritten lists mature into other formats and get attached to target dates and Bullet Journal short goals and long goals. No. I won't photograph a Bullet Journal page for anyone else's consumption. I practice NSFW Bullet Journaling and we run a marginally family-friendly blog here, so we'll all be happier without that image preserved for internet posterity. The cats get to see my pages, but they don't judge. Well. Not my Bullet Journal, anyway.
Here's the moral of my disjointed story - it's easy to get wrapped up in thinking there's a right way to do long term planning. And maybe there is a right way. The Right Way for YOU. If you are a linear, analytical thinker, detailed spreadsheets may give you all kinds of creative energy and drive. Yay! If you're a spatial, relational thinker, you're going to be driven to drink by those same spreadsheets simply because your brain works differently. Your tools for long term planning will be no less rigorous, no less valid. But they will likely be much harder to screen shot. Just remember to honor the system that turns on your lights. That's the right one.